College football’s conference championship week is finally here. After months of speculation, each conference around the nation will crown a champion this week. We will also get to the bottom of who will be heading to this year’s College Football Playoff.
The LSU Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes will both likely be in even with a loss on Saturday, and the Clemson Tigers will be in as long as they win as 28-point favorites against Virginia. Who will earn the final spot? Here’s a look at the betting slate on tap around college football this week.
No. 6 Utah Utes (-6.5) vs. No. 14 Oregon Ducks (Friday Night)
Had the Oregon Ducks not lost to the Arizona State Sun Devils in Week 13, this matchup might have been a play-in game for the fourth and final spot in the College Football Playoff. Utah certainly deserves playoff consideration with a perfect 8-0 SU and ATS record over its last eight games and an 11-1 SU and 9-3 ATS record overall. But without any high-quality wins due to another down year in the Pac-12, it’s going to be hard to find a spot for the Utes, even if they win the Pac-12 championship on Friday night.
No. 9 Baylor Bears vs. No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners (-8.5)
Oregon’s loss was the Big 12’s gain. Whoever wins this game will have a 12-1 SU record and a higher quality win in their conference championship game than Utah. The Sooners snapped an 0-4 ATS losing streak with a 34-16 road win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys last Saturday, finishing the regular season with an 11-1 SU and 5-7 ATS record. Baylor blew out Kansas 61-6 to improve to 11-1 SU and 8-3 ATS.
The last time these two teams played, Oklahoma erased a 28-3 deficit to defeat the Bears 34-31 in Baylor. Given the stakes in this game and the hype around their last meeting, this should be a fun one.
No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 2 LSU Tigers (-7.5)
One potential wrench in the Big 12’s hope of sending its champion to the College Football Playoff would be a Georgia upset over LSU. If the Bulldogs win the SEC Championship and improve to 12-1 SU and 8-5 ATS in the process, they’ll be in. And LSU at that point would be 12-1 SU, 7-4-2 ATS, and would still have the Heisman Trophy front runner Joe Burrow. The playoff committee would probably select both teams.
But beating LSU is going to be tough. The Tigers are 3-1 SU and 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games against Georgia and are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 games played in the month of December. They have also won their 12 games this season by an average margin of 26.6 points per game.
No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes (-16) vs. No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers
The Ohio State Buckeyes mowed through their schedule this season with a 12-0 SU and 9-3 ATS record, crushing their opponents by a staggering average margin of victory of 38.1 points per game. Included on that war path was the Wisconsin Badgers, who lost to the Buckeyes by a final score of 38-7. Ohio State is 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in its last seven games against Wisconsin.